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Lib Dem councillors smooth wheelchair access in William Hunter Way

August 31, 2019 8:00 PM
By Karen Chilvers
Crossing from M&S to Sainsbury's in Brentwood (Google Maps)

The kerb will be made safe for all users

A crossing that posed a danger to wheelchair users, partially sighted pedestrians and pushchair passengers will now be made safer, thanks to an intervention by County Cllr David Kendall and Borough Councillor Karen Chilvers.

Karen, a wheelchair user, identified the problem when it was impossible for her to wheel from the road on to the pavement on the pelican crossing from Marks & Spencer to Sainsbury's due to the high kerb. This led to a dangerous situation where she had to be wheeled back in to the road and turned around in order to be pulled on to the footpath after the lights had returned to green.

"Not only is this dangerous, it's humilating," said Karen. "It's traumatic enough having to be wheeled around town so we wheeled types could do without being dragged up pavements unceremoniously. We deserve the same rights as everyone else, to go about our business without a furore".

Despite appealing to Essex County Council, they refused to help so she turned to Cllr Kendall who raised it with the cabinet member a couple of weeks ago, insisting that disabled people should be treated equitably.

The kerb will be adjusted overnight in the first week of September,

David said:

"I am pleased to have played a part in getting this long running issue finally resolved. After many knock backs I got the Cabinet Member for Highways involved and I'm pleased to see that common sense has prevailed. A reduction in the kerb height at this pedestrian crossing will make a real difference for residents in wheelchairs and those who are visually impaired. I'd like to thank Cllr Bentley for his assistance with this matter".

Karen added:

"It's only since I have been mobility-challenged that I see the every day issues that exist. My friends and family have also been astonished at what disabled people have to contend with. A lot of the time, it's just lack of experience or knowledge and, if I am honest, a good number of well meaning mistakes by the able bodied. Once you point things out, people are apologetic in the extreme.

"However, there must be dozens of issues like this all over Brentwood and, therefore, I have set up a designated email address so we can try and get some action taken. Just emall smooththepath@brentwoodlibdems.org.uk and let us try to help".